CORNING, AR (KAIT) - Christmas is over.
But, there’s a Region 8 woman who is known for giving all year long. So much so, that she has been selected as our Gr8 Acts of Kindness winner for the month of December.
Paige Catt sits on the floor surrounded by children singing along with Brian and Terri Kinder, performer that travel the state entertaining crowds of young children and their families. Catt brought the group to Park Elementary in Corning for their very first performance many years ago.
What she doesn’t know is that this husband and wife team are in on a big surprise.
“Teachers teach lessons all year long,” Brian Kinder said. “That’s a gift that comes all year long and not just at Christmastime.”
In fact, some people never stop teaching or giving.
Everybody say “Miss Paige Catt!” Kinder announced from the microphone.”
Catt comes to the stage with a smile on her face and dances around once she gets there.c
She thinks she’s just going up on stage to have a little fun.
“Thirty years she was a teacher here,” Kinder said. “We think she is one of the neatest people in the world! She does so many wonderful things for people. Not just being a teacher—but we want to surprise her by letting her know that we’ve got something special going on today.”
Catt had no idea that KAIT and First Community Bank were waiting to make this big surprise.
I enter the room wearing a microphone.
“This is the season of giving,” I said to Catt as she stared on in disbelief “But, you make it Christmastime every single day and that is why you are the next winner in the Gr8 Acts of Kindness.”
"I’m so humbled," Catt said. "I’m just … it’s amazing."
Amazing... is how most people describe this retired teacher who –from the looks of it—doesn’t appear to slow down.
"She was there bringing me lunch, Laurie Mock, a fellow teacher and friend, said. “She was there to drive me to physical therapy.”
When a car accident rendered fellow teacher, Mock, homebound for a year, it was Catt who came to the rescue.
“She was hauling me to ballgames,” Mock said. “Just whatever it took and she’s like that for everybody. Everybody. Anybody that has a need. Paige Catt is there.”
"She will say that we have a single Mom who has literally moved in with the clothes on their back and by that night, that house is filled," Brenda McGrew, library media specialist said. "The refrigerator is filled and she has done this on numerous occasions."
With the loss of the town’s largest store, Walmart. Catt has been working on the Grow Corning Committee.
“Paige. She is the person with the glass half full. She really works hard for the community,” Gregory Ahrent, Corning mayor-elect said. “She’s never met a challenge that she couldn’t meet.”
And that includes breast cancer. The entire Park Elementary school dressing up in support of Catt.
“That was year 29 of teaching. I missed most of that year,” Catt explained. “Then I came back and there was a kindergarten option available. And I thought. If I can do chemo—surely I can do Kindergarten.”
No challenge is too big for Catt. She heads up Operation Christmas Child at her church and gets the community to participate in giving.
“Number one, they know that she’s doing it because she really cares.,” John Raspberry, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Corning said. “She’s not trying to get something out of it or anything and so people are happy to dive in and help with that.”
You could say that giving is just in her nature.
“She comes by it honestly,” Mock said. “Virginia was instrumental in starting the early Headstart program and we have the Virginia Atkison Headstart program here in Corning. She was an amazing lady and Paige is just like her.”
Catt knows she’s carrying on a tradition that started with her mother.
"Yes, I can see myself in her everyday," Catt looks up at the photograph of her mother hanging on the wall inside the Virginia Atkison Headstart program.
“She has a love for people that goes beyond comfort and ease and things like that,” Pastor Raspberry said.
“She has angel wings somewhere,” McGrew said. “To me, Proverbs 18:24 is Paige Catt. A friend that sticks closer than a brother. That’s Paige.”
To nominate someone for the GR8 Acts of Kindness, click here. The submission form is on the right-hand side of the page.